In the post-pandemic world business trips are back on, and there’s no more exciting work trip destination than New York City! For those of you who may have forgotten what work trips are like and how to prepare for them after all the working from home of the last few years, we’re here to help remind you. We’ve put together some tips on what to pack to look stylish and comfortable on your trip, while economizing your luggage space and minimizing your stress.
Since it is a business trip, the majority of your packing will be professional attire. Depending on the vibe of your office, this could range from a simple formal dress to a pantsuit to just a pair of work trousers with a blazer. But you don’t need us to tell you what outfits in your closet fit the business norms and expectations of your office! Rather, we offer you some practical tips about what to pack
Plan around weather
For those not familiar with the climate of New York, the weather will vary dramatically from season to season, but even month to month – this means that you will pack quite differently depending on the timing of your trip. Broadly speaking, from December to March you’ll be in the depths of New York’s winter, which means that your work outfits will probably involve warm wool trousers, sweaters and turtlenecks, and a robust winter jacket with all the winter shoes accessories. If you dare to wear a dress or skirt, some thick tights are an absolute must. From March to June in New York spring, while still chilly, you can ditch your thickest winter coats for lighter jackets or trenches. You’ll want to keep the longer sleeves and sweaters, though a skirt or dress may become more bearable as the temperatures rise. From June to September, the peak of New York’s summer, you can lose the coats entirely and embrace your short-sleeve dresses and summer patterns and colors. It’s up to you whether a blazer or shoulder-covering is still required depending on your work environment, but you certainly won’t need it, and it can get very sweaty on the subway or crowded spaces. Finally as the city heads into Fall from September to December you’ll need to dig up your jackets and coats once again and transition into your more autumnal, warmer colors and looks.
Whatever time of year you’re traveling, and regardless of the look you’re going for, you’ll still want to pack for comfort, especially when it comes to footwear. New York is a huge and significantly pedestrian city. Unless you’re planning to Uber everywhere, there’s a very good chance you’ll spend much of your commute on foot, whether in the subway or walking to and fro. This means it is not the time to pack your most glamorous shoes that destroy your feet after ten minutes of standing. Rather, for the colder months boots are a stylish and practical option – formal enough for conference rooms but easy enough to get around in. In the warmer months, loafers or brogues are great non-boot options. A nice pair of loafers can be very trendy and very practical, and go with any trouser or dress look – they can even work in the winter with socks. If you want the added height boost of heels, but want to give your feet a break, consider something with a block, wedge, or plateau heel. But if you still insist on wearing the fancy but uncomfortable high heels that make your outfit look its best, consider doing what most working New Yorkers do and pack a pair of “subway shoes” that you can comfortably commute in but change out of just in time for your meetings.
Consider the vibe and the work you’ll be doing
Something else to consider when packing your bags is both the dress code of your office in terms of formality, as well as the type of work you’ll be doing. Since it is a work trip, you’re probably already familiar with how dressed up your employer requires you to be. If they’re very strict, then you probably need to account for the extra space that a suit or heels will take up in your suitcase, but if they’re more flexible, you may want to ditch the full suit for just a blazer in order to save yourself some luggage space. Bear in mind also that if you’re traveling from your office to another, the dress code could be a little different. Especially if you’re going from a big corporate headquarters office to a small field office (or vice versa), you might find people dress up or down. So it’s a good idea to have at least one semi-casual outfit that can be dressed up, so you’re covered either way. Also something to think about is what kind of work you’re going to do. If you’re going to be on your feet, doing practical work with your hands, or running from place to place, it’s important that your outfit is flexible in the sense that you can comfortably move and stretch in it. However, if you’re going to be stuck seated in conference rooms all day, it doesn’t really matter if your outfit isn’t very practical. Either way dressing in layers is a good idea, you never know if you’ll be sweating from moving around, or freezing in a poorly ventilated boardroom.
Think about how long you’ll be away
The length of your trip is also a very important factor in your packing. If you’re just traveling for a couple nights, you can quite easily plan and pack two complete outfits without too much stress or space taken up in your bag. However, if you’re going to be away for a week or more, planning a new outfit for each day can be quite impractical. In this case, packing pieces that allow more outfit combinations is absolutely essential. A simple and sleek blazer will always go with anything, but also can be styled in different ways with different bottoms and jewelry. Also if you pack a matching suit, you can choose to wear it together one day, and then wear the two pieces separately with a different shirt or skirt and create completely different looks from the same piece, which is ideal from a fashion and luggage perspective.
After hours and leisure
Even if the majority of your time and wardrobe is for business purposes, there’s still a good chance you’ll manage to explore the city in your free time – you are in New York after all! Depending on what you’d like to see in the city, you may want to pack an “after hours outfit”. If you plan to make a night out of your time outside of work by going to a fancy restaurant, hip bar or jazz club, Broadway show or comedy night, or even a full on night out clubbing, make sure to pack one glam outfit. It could be a classic and elegant dress, or sleek and trendy sporty look. Just remember you’re in New York, so black is always the way to dress.
If you’re less into going out but prefer to wander about, check out the delicious food spots, and take in the sites of the city during your off time, just pack a pair of sneakers and a casual and comfy fit and you’re set.
Finally, if you want to keep up with your workout routine while traveling, or just want to make use of the swanky hotel gym, then be sure to pack a cute workout set and a pair of running shoes. Whatever your workout of choice is, New York also has tons of amazing workout classes that run at all times and all across the city. If it’s your thing, you’ll definitely be able to squeeze a spin class, HIIT class, pilates session, yoga or barre class into your schedule. These are a great way to de-stress while exploring some of New York’s fun fitness options!